Tuesday, February 6, 2018

February Bead weaving Challenge

The theme for the February Bead Weaving Challenge for the International Bead Weavers group was Black Elegance. This year the challenges are focusing on a particular type of jewelry. This month the entry had to be a necklace. I like the challenges because they allow me to explore ideas I wouldn’t normally think of. When working with the addition of a second level of design parameters I made the happy discovery that for me the restrictions led to an outpouring of design ideas. 

My first step was to sort through my stash to find my black beads. I found I have many of the new two, three and four hole beads in black. Since the color is consistent across the brands, I was able to combine them without regard for anything but the way the shapes fit together. The surprise was how much easier I found working with multi holed beads was when I used only black. It led to an epiphany of sorts- by taking the element of color away from the design process I was forced to create interesting patterns through the placement of the shaped beads. The interaction of the shapes allowed me a new understanding of the possibilities the beads hold. 
My original idea was to make beaded beads strung with fire polish and seed bead
 spacers, with a tassel. The beads had different ideas. Most of the components I made were either tiles or medallions, which brought to mind the vintage jewelry I have seen made with jet beads. A quick Google search showed me all sorts of elegant necklaces. I decided to make my design more modern, with a Victorian feel.

I used bugle beads for the chain and connectors, one of the few times I have managed to make something other than fringe with them. I also like the effect they have with mini duo spacers. The iris duo is a new two holed bead from Potomac Beads. It has a flat back, which I like because you can use one on both sides of the medallion. 

I am really exited by all the new designs I have made this past week with multi holed beads. The next step is to write up the tutorials, for me it is always a bigger challenge than the design. For now, I am thankful to the INBW team challenges for inspiring my creativity. To vote for you favorite design in this months challenge, visit the INBW Team blog between February 9 and 15. To visit my Etsy shop click here.